Gary Neville, an eight-time title winner with Manchester United, has admitted Manchester City could be the greatest Premier League team ever.
Pep Guardiola’s men clinched back-to-back crowns on Sunday, edging out Liverpool by a single point after winning all of their final 14 games.
They have now won the league four times in eight years to establish themselves as the dominant force in English football, and could complete an unprecedented domestic treble in Saturday’s FA Cup final.
Asked if they could be considered the best team in the Premier League era, former United and England defender Neville told Sky Sports News: ‘I think so. There are people who’ll debate that, I would think, but what have they done in this last two years…
‘Last year was a great achievement, but when you win back-to-back titles amassing the points that they have, withstanding that challenge that they’ve had from Liverpool, which was relentless right the way to the very end, it makes them a great side.
‘Pep Guardiola has come to England and people will mention the Champions League, but I would dismiss that, really.
‘To do what he’s done here now in this last two years is unprecedented, it’s incredible. The points tallies are just out of this world and the football he’s played as well, so I think you can say, yes, this is the greatest.
‘I like our teams, I like the Chelsea team – there will be people who’ll say, ”Who is the greatest?”, but what they have done in terms of points you can’t deny.’
In guiding City to their latest success, former Barcelona and Bayern Munich coach Guardiola simply enhanced his own reputation, and in Neville’s opinion should be regarded alongside the aristocrats of the English game.
Neville said: ‘Pep Guardiola, he’s come to England – like I say, there will be people who will question that Manchester City have fallen short in the Champions League, but what he achieved yesterday, and obviously he has a chance next week to win a domestic treble – puts him up there with the great managers.
‘Arsene Wenger, Jose Mourinho, Sir Alex Ferguson and now Pep Guardiola really are the great managers of the Premier League era.
‘I don’t know how long he’s going to stay in England – I’m sure the other clubs will be hoping he leaves quite quickly – but if he stayed for another two or three years, then he could go on and win another two or three championships easily.’
If there were celebrations in the blue half of Manchester, there was disappointment on Merseyside as Liverpool came up agonisingly short despite losing just one league game all season.
Champions League glory could yet soothe that pain, but Neville insists Liverpool deserve huge credit too after a thrilling campaign.
He said: ‘When I think of the Barcelona team that Pep Guardiola had eight, nine years ago, it stopped Manchester United winning three Champions League titles just because they were so good, and Liverpool can just look at it pragmatically with a philosophical view that they came up against a great side.
‘Liverpool this year, they’re far better than I ever imagined, they’ve done far more than I ever imagined.
‘I never thought that that squad was capable of mounting a challenge for the title like they have and the Champions League.’
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